Friday, June 5, 2009

The Campaign to Save Paste

I'm a reasonably opinionated guy, but more to the point, I'm a person who takes in all the available information and processes it in a way that I think is efficient and, usually, effective. Sometimes, though, I don't make the initial call correctly. And sometimes I just don't know what to think.

Take, for instance, my response to an email I recently received from the fine (and apparently financially beleagured) folks at Paste. In a nutshell, it was a fund-raising letter, the type you often get from non-profits and charitable organizations that need funds to continue providing their various services. You see, they gotta send those letters out, because they don't have a business plan that helps them make profits.

Paste, however, is supposed to be a different story. I mean, it is a business, after all. If you own a store (or whatever) and you aren't making the rent, then change something up - reduce costs, increases revenue, change marketing strategies, whatever. And if the debits and credits are impossible to reconcile, close down. That's how a market works, right? So when I got that email, my initial response was something like, "Paste, I like you well enough, I guess, but really, screw off. Fundraising for a private company, pish posh."

And then I forgot about it.

So, typical exercise in information processing and critical analysis. But then my informational intake was updated, thanks to a blog post I came across on the All Songs Considered blog. The author, Stephen Thompson, managed to convince me, without really trying, that Paste is actually something that is worth donating to, or at least that they represent something that is worth donating to. And, really, if someone is making a profit, what do I care?

So I recently took part in the very fundraising program I initially rejected, not least because doing so, even by providing the very smallest amount of money, gains the donor access to a veritable treasure trove of donated releases, the vast majority of which are rare. This morning, after my transaction was processed, I went through the list and was pretty impressed with what I found. Sure, there's a lot of stuff I might consider junk (but that others would think to be pretty rad), but there are also cool tracks like Thao's cover of the Smokey Robinson classic, "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and She & Him's cover of Neil Young's "Lotta Love" (originally released as the B-side to the UK 7-inch of "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"), as well as non-album tracks from artists like Samantha Crain, Patterson Hood, Megafaun (who cover a Roy Acuff tune), John Roderick, Deer Tick, Cee Lo Green, and, oh, about 150 other artists. Literally. Plus more coming in each day.

Now, I guess intrepid internet searchers could find most, maybe all, of these tracks online for free, and some of you won't be remotely persuaded by my pitch or Mr. Thompson's, which won't really be surprising because neither one of us are really trying and we are in the midst of a recession and all. But still, for the sake of the music press and for your own itunes account, give it a thought. You can learn more about the Campaign to Save Paste here.

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